This is a lovely image was created by the Visual Insights team at Twitter from billions of geo-tagged tweets posted since 2009. Look closely and you can pick out the roads between cities – even a little bright spot that is Brighton (directly south of London).
Buildings and cities are being changed by algorithms, is its jumping off point.
This short film is intended to encourage a creative audience to seek out Kevin Slavin’s talk Those Algorithms Which Govern Our Lives. It employs an effect which takes place in Google Earth when its 3D street photography and 2D satellite imagery don’t register correctly. This glitch is applied as a metaphor for the way that our 21st century supercities are physically changing to suit the needs of computer algorithms rather than human employees.
This image has been on my computer desktop and on my mind since I saw it in December. High time I shared it here, really.
It’s a data visualisation of 10 million pairs of friends on Facebook and where they live in relationship to one another, created by an intern on Facebook’s data infrastructure engineering team. Read the original blog post in full – it is fascinating stuff.
As Ian Tait points out, what’s amazing is that there is no map underneath, and yet you can pick out the shapes of the continents.
Interesting too are the gaps – China, Brazil and Russia are underrepresented, perhaps due to the fact that other social networks are more prevalent in those territories (RenRen, Orkut and Vkontakte respectivelY).
Maybe I should reserve judgement until the project is concluded, but I think that Moblog impresario Alfie Dennen may have surpassed himself with the Britglyph project.
The plan seems to be use a combination of GPS and digital photography to map out a geoglyph, a large drawing on the ground, using geeks around the UK to make up the points in a kind of join-the-dots exercise on a massive scale.
The image that people will create, basically by dropping stones on the ground and pins in a Google Map with images attached, is of John Harrison‘s Chronometer H5, the 18th century technological marvel that gave us an accurate way to measure Longitude.
The project seems to be in part to promote Shozu, a mobile software application which, as Lloyd Davies pointed out in a comment yesterday, can be set to automatically attach a geotag (location reference) to photos that you upload to Flickr, and possibly elsewhere.
I grew up partly in the Vale of the White Horse, the white horse being one of the oldest geoglyphs in the UK. I recall that people said it used to be a serpent until King Alfred‘s soldiers carved legs on it to celebrate a major battle – but I can’t find any trace of that story on Wikipedia or other websites.